Action 9 - In your community, raise awareness to stop violence against girls and women

Thammy, 36 and Azizah, 49 both live in Kuala Lumpur. Since 2014 they’ve been working together to lead the Stop the Violence campaign and deliver the Voices Against Violence curriculum for the Girl Guides Association Malaysia. They’re raising awareness in their communities so that girls, leaders and those outside of the Movement can work together to stop violence against women and girls. We asked them how they’ve been working with different groups to make change happen.

1. How are you engaging teachers in Malaysia? 

Azizah: In Malaysia, although it’s not reported much, there are many cases of dating violence happening in schools. As a teacher I know that this is affecting girls as young as 12 years old. I think it’s our duty to set an example to young people so they know their rights. The theme that we’re focusing on is dating violence – it surprises teachers that the Girl Guides are talking about this topic. They want to know more.

Thammy: As well as through regular guiding meetings that happen in schools, we also deliver awareness talks for large-scale school events and trainings. We introduce the programme to teachers to drive interest. They tell us that Voices Against Violence is a great programme and that we should be introducing it to girls at an even younger age. Many teachers and girls tell us that every school should implement the curriculum.

2. How can girls raise awareness of these issues in their communities?

Thammy: While we’re only running the curriculum with girls, the ‘shout out and take action’ sessions are helping girls to reach boys and teachers too. Girls are creating and displaying posters in their schools – which helps us reach more people. We can’t stop violence alone, so it’s really important that girls are sharing these messages with men and boys.

Thammy: When the girls deliver their work back into their communities –especially schools – their parents are also engaged. This brings the campaign and the curriculum it to non-guiding members. We’re raising awareness about dating violence to girls’ communities, and we’re also raising the image of Girl Guiding too. 

2016 _ Malaysia _ girls holding poster speaking 16 days blog WAGGGS
3. How have you been engaging the public?

Azizah: In 2015 we ran a Stop the Violence roadshow as part of our organization’s national World Thinking Day celebrations. We reached around one thousand girls and leaders – but we also spoke to the public.

Thammy: We ran a survey with girls and members of the public – asking what kinds of violence they were aware of, what they could do to prevent violence etc. The response was overwhelming. We really raised awareness of our Movement. Most people in Malaysia have this typical idea that Girl Guiding is all about camping, making gadgets and marching. The roadshow brought a new perspective about Girl Guiding to the public. People were surprised to see us talking about this topic! 

4. What other groups are you working with? 

Azizah: For me, hopefully by next year I’ll try to approach the police force so we can deliver roadshows along with them. We’ve already spoken to some officers and they have agreed to help. They’ve suggested some ways to go about it.

Thammy: I want to carry out more work together with other NGOs. We want to approach NGOs that work on women’s issues and put together some programmes to mark various international days. Working with other organizations will help us reach out to more people - especially non-guiding members. I want to share this message with more MOs in the Region – engaging NGOs can be a really good way to access funds and get involved with the Stop the Violence campaign. 

2016 _ Malaysia _ girls play washing line game 16 days blog WAGGGS

5. How has social media helped you reach different communities? 

Thammy: One of our main goals is to empower young women. If we lead by example then other women can follow- not just in our country – thanks to social media we can inspire women in other countries too. By sharing our work we can be positive ambassadors for WAGGGS and for the programme.

Azizah: Because of social media we get contacted by other Member Organizations who want to ask about our work and future planning. 

6. What's next for the campaign and the curriculum – what do you want to achieve?

Azizah: We want to reach out to more girls. Our action plan aims to reach 16,000 girls. We’ll keep going to achieve that goal. I was quite a reserved person before this. I am full of confidence now.

Thammy: We make sure that we are heard by others. Not only at District of country level – but by the world! We really make sure that the world is listening to us. What do we want to achieve? I want to eliminate the stereotyping in society and also to stop the violence against girls and young women. I really think we can achieve it if we carry on with the momentum like this. 

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